The world is your oyster.
So, pop that fishy ball of phlegm in your mouth, feel it ooze down your throat and go fuck like a jackrabbit.
Wait. I think I lost the thread of my analogy.
The world is your oyster. We’ll take the literal interpretation in another direction: The world is full of mucus-like nastiness that you have to dig through to get to the pearl. And, more often than not, there is no pearl. Only shellfish snot. That’s life, baby.
Where the hell was I going with this? Oh yeah. I remember. Forget the crustacean stuff for a minute. The expression means, as I’m sure you know, that everything around you is there for the taking. That’s what I came here to talk about.
Every moment of every day offers something to help make your fiction richer. The trick is to pay attention. I’m gonna assume most of you already know this, but sometimes, I myself forget, so I figure maybe some of you do, too and might like a reminder.
On the road today, I noticed how the gently falling snowflakes were swept along in the breeze; it looked like they were playing an elaborate game of tag before they hit the ground.
A teen boy came to the library where I work. His acne was pervasive. He only made eye contact when absolutely necessary; the rest of the time, he kept his face angled away.
When my glasses are really dirty, the room I’m in looks like it was shot for an old TV show and played back with shitty reception.
An astounding number of people pick their noses behind the wheel.
I know what my kids smell like.
When I burned my hand by stupidly touching the frying pan, it took a little while for the pain to register, for me to yank away. Less than a second, sure, but there was a delay.
My story collection, when nestled in among other books on the shelf, disappears almost completely. Its glossy black spine with white letters is the opposite of eye-catching. This makes me sad. What? It’s a thing. I noticed it. It counts. At least it wasn’t a blatant plug, right? It’s not like I said, “Title, from Publisher, available on Platform.” If you want to know, you can ask. Or look it up in the bio below. That, right there? That was the blatant plug.
So, yeah. The world is your oyster. Keep your eyes open. Listen closely to the sounds around you. Breathe deep and absorb the smells of your environment. Touch things with the gloves off. Put your tongue in new and interesting places to see what they taste like (be careful with those last two). Bring those experiences to the page. Make your reader feel like they are really there with you, in the tiny boat surrounded by angry, giant lamprey; in the spacious mansion haunted by the ghosts of farm animals; nestled in amongst the loving tentacles of Glorrff, God of Ugly Sea Creatures and Jewelry Made from Mucus.
The world is your oyster. Eat it. Then, fuck like a jackrabbit. Because, really, that’s never a bad idea.
- WIHM: An Interview With Jessica McHugh - February 6, 2019
- Brain Babies: Writing Through The Pain - November 7, 2018
- Brain Babies: You do You - December 13, 2017
- Brain Babies: Thoughts from a Mid-list Writer - August 5, 2017
- Brain Babies: How to Nickel-and-Dime Yourself to Death! - March 4, 2017
- Brain Babies: Trigger Warnings - August 28, 2016
- Brain Babies: How are We Supposed to Compete? - August 20, 2016
- Brain Babies: A Crisis of Faith (in Oneself) - June 25, 2016
- Brain Babies: Up the Motherfucking Stakes, Man! - May 21, 2016
- Brain Babies: Just … Stop It Already with the (fill-in-the-blank) Shaming - April 30, 2016